How… (in the world), Do You Move On From Disappointment?

Have you ever been disappointed by someone close to you?  I’m not talking about full out betrayal’s… an, “excuse me, can you turn around so I can jab this knife in your back,” kind of thing.  I’m talking about someone significant in your life letting you down…gently, almost accidentally, without any meaning of direct harm to you personally.  But, its’ still hurtful and discouraging, regardless of intent.  It kinda’ stinks really.

Why does this happen sometimes?  Maybe because you’re not on the same page; a miscommunication of some kind, or when one assumes thought or action for another individual, or when there’s a difference in goals or direction.  Maybe one person veers away from what was previously agreed upon; possibly views or beliefs change, or just plain bad choices were made that we all make sometimes.  Uuggh!!  There’s probably a billion more reasons…but writing out the possible ‘why’s’ seem equally as frustrating as the disappointment itself!

I’ve DEFINITELY been there!  I think we all have.  And, I’m not going to go into disappointment detail, since the WHO and WHY are not nearly as important as the HOWHow do we deal? That’s WHAT this life is! Its’ figuring a way around, through, and over life’s obstacles,  disappointments, and challenges while we are encouraged and motivated in between with life’s joys and blessings.  The tools we use to conquer and come out on the other side stronger, wiser, and STILL HERE are crucial components to our “life survival pack”.   How can we move forward from being let down by someone we love?  THERE IS THE QUESTION!  AND THERE IS AN ANSWER!

…Jesus.  You’re welcome.  Til’ next time, be blessed!… 😉 Just kidding, sort of.

H O W ?

rustic broken heart

I see the “how” process as broken into separated pieces; as I, myself have recently been sifting through the pieces, trying to fit them together to make some sense of my own disappointment.  Each piece needs to snap into the other, one at a time, making the puzzle whole; creating a bigger picture that makes sense.  The first piece is in the acknowledgement of hurt. This sets the process of grief in motion, along with the rebuilding of a broken heart.  You have to allow yourself to let the disappointment be named, giving it a place in your life as part of the story. This is how we use it to our betterment; adding to our success story, and bringing us closer to Him.

1- Get sad   2- Get confused   3- Get angry   4- Get real

When we get sad, we are acknowledging the hurt and morning the loss of something we previously thought was there.  Something we thought was solid and true. (I.E., a friendship, a job, a position, a dependency, a trust, a point of view, a goal, etc.)

When I say, ‘get confused’, I don’t mean to throw your hands up in the air saying, “Welp, that’s it. No clue.  Its’ useless in trying to figure this one out.”  What I mean is to ask questions, converse toward clarity.  You can review past experience, behavior, and conversations to try and get a better feel about how this came about and why.  Its’ not a guarantee that you will find the answers, or that the answer may suit your piece of mind at all, but its’ important to explore the possible answers to identify the point of divergence in the road with communication or goals or whatever it is.

Getting mad is natural, expected, and good.  It is part of the process in releasing the hurt and pain.  You’re angry that what you thought was true, actually isn’t!  You’re angry that you now have to adjust to this new truth!  You’re angry that your new truth is not what you want to be true…its’ not what you planned on, or invested in, or value in any way!

Now GET REAL.  This is THE most important tool in your “life survival pack”!  Without this key component you are most likely going to hold on (for dear life) to one of the other steps in this process of moving on.  You’re going to get sad…and stay sad.  You might move on to the confusion and stay confused, never getting the sad-house-coloring-pageanswers you’re after.  You may skip really fast to getting really angry, and stay there.  Trust that you do NOT want to live sad, mad, or confused.  These places only build a barrier against those joys and blessings I mentioned that blossom in between or even amongst the challenges that are major in motivating us and encouraging us in beautiful ways.

This is total destruction and the exact opposite of what is intended for us in this life:

James 1:2-4
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

We need to see the trials we face as a sort of refinement or equipping process. Only God can use the sometimes terrible, awful, hurtful, disappointing trials in our life as a means of bringing us closer to Him while making us stronger, wiser, more gracious,  patient, faithful, and merciful.  We have to give Him permission to allow the transformation.  He won’t force it on us!

The GET REAL phase is also the place for decision and for action.  You decide based on beliefs and on what you hold most valuable to you what your next step should be.  It is imperative that you do not make any decisions of finality in the sad, confused, or mad stages.  Doing so would be relying on feelings alone to decide the fate of your predicament.  You might cut out a friendship or relationship that you regret later, or quit a job when just a straight forward conversation with your boss was necessary, you might vow to never do x, y, or z again that you eventually break, etc.  Feelings are fleeting, ever changing, unreliable, and NEVER permanent.  This may take days, weeks, months even, but you will NEVER regret waiting until all your emotions have been cycled and dealt with before you make some logical, faith based decisions, boundaries, moves, or adjustments in regards to the person who hurt you.

After accepting its’ real place in your life and go through all the emotions God has supplied us with as a means to mange the obstacles we face, I encourage you to see yourself as “more mature” and “more complete”; having persevered by faith.  That’s what God’s desire is!  To use our life; our every day, and our extraordinary experiences to transform us into something more like the image of God, more like Jesus who modeled for us everything we all so desperately want to be near.  (Whether we realize this or not.) And the goal is not to end there with you…the natural progression of this kind of transformation spreads.  This kind of love is contagious!

heart-puzzle-1158384

The more I experience…the more I live, the more I realize and am comforted by the fact that my God is always there, with me, residing in me, and guiding me. Isaiah 46:4 says, “I have made you, I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” He is and always will be the unfailing beacon I can look to and rely on for all things…especially in times of disappointment and regret! It cannot get any more real than that.

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Til’ next time, be blessed!!!
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Being A New Creation in An Old World

Have you ever had to go through the growing pains of establishing a new you in an old you place?  Its’ definitely a process of growth and adjustment, on your part as well as the people around you.  That’s where I find myself these days…

Good news!  One of my dearest and oldest friends just opened a restaurant in the town I grew up in, and has hired me as a server a few nights a week!  I told someone recently that, “its employment by friendship default…which is fine by me!” I first met Gina about 15 years ago at another restaurant here in RI where we both waited tables.  We became fast friends and when I got married in 2005, she was one of my bridesmaids.

Josh and I had been living in NC for just a year before we got married.  We moved back to RI for the summer before our October 1st wedding, using that time to work at  seasonal restaurants to help pay for the big day. Right after our honeymoon, we moved back to NC and stayed there for 9 more years.  We accomplished a ton while living down south.  We had 3 beautiful boys, we bought a house, Josh got a degree in mechanical engineering at NC State, we both experienced tremendous personal growth, and I became I Christ follower.File_000 (4)

Making the decision to follow Christ, naturally also came with some fundamental changes that altered and even replaced certain characteristics associated with the ‘old me’.  The way I think changed, my views on significant issues changed, the way I speak changed, the things I care about most changed, my activities changed…pretty much, every aspect of consequence in my life changed in one way or another.

So, moving back to RI has, in a way, placed me smack dab in front of the old me.  I get comments like, “Kate, what happened to you?  You used to, ______(fill in the blank).”  Or “Where’s the old Kate?”  Or “You seem so different.”  Sometimes I take it as a compliment and other times I know that I’m set apart from the crowd I used to belong to.

At times, I can see that ‘old Kate’.  She pops up in my brain and the thoughts she would have had are there and I could say the thing she would have said just to elicit laughs, or for attention, or to make someone else seem ‘less than’ while making myself seem better somehow.  I imagine it would be so easy to fall right back to the ‘old Kate’ and it wouldn’t feel weird, but sort of comfortable.   But, like I told Gina when she commented on how different I am now, “I’ve lived life both ways, and for me, this way is better.”

I’m not worried about reverting to the past,  but I am trying to figure out how to manage this ‘new Kate’ in an ‘old Kate’ world.  It doesn’t feel as easy as it did down south.  In NC, most of my friends were Christians; churches down there are like Dunkin’ Donuts up here…one on every corner! 😉 Its’ apparent there will be a process of allowing people a chance to get to know me as a new creation.

Maybe you can relate on some level?  Making a decision that sets you apart from a group you operate in is challenging.  It could be a decision to stop drinking when it seems everyone around you does.  Maybe the decision to get your finances under control, prohibits you from carrying on in the old budget frame of mind, while your inner circle makes it routine to meet out for meals or shopping together.  Or, are you the only Christian in your workplace and you’re trying to balance your faith in a place where no one else shares your beliefs? Or, have you decided to follow Christ, while family or friends don’t ?  Perhaps the ones closest to you have challenged your new way or even poked fun at it?  (I’ve been there!) It takes some decided effort and dedication to establish a new standard of living that’s drastically different than what you’re accustomed to.

In my case, deciding to walk with Christ is not just a Sunday, Easter, Christmas thing.  Most of my life I believed you get a little dose of God on Sunday and then go about your week and the two have nothing to do with one another.  How wrong I was! Choosing to follow Him, means every day, every minute, everywhere.  Right?  And Sunday is great for praise and worship but if you leave Him at the alter and don’t carry the principles and precepts with you as you operate daily life through the rest of the week, then you’re missing the point.  Those “be like Jesus” guidelines are not there to utilize on Sunday alone or to let hang in the ether, attached to the greater power without connecting it to your every day.  Those things can help you mange a ‘new you’ in an ‘old you’ world!

C.S. Lewis explained that, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”  Reading some of what C.S. Lewis said about his relationship with God and his choice to become a Christian, helped me see that it isn’t always easy.  You’re not a Christian because you want an easy road…because you’re looking for a quick fix on happiness.  It is often times uncomfortable, unpopular, and unaccommodating…and falling short of the ultimate goal is a commonality.  We are Christian because we believe Jesus sacrificed his own life so that we can be closer to God, so that we can be one with Him, and that we will know Him in every moment of our life journey.

I have to let go of the notion that if I keep pressing on in my ‘new me’ fashion, the Christian road in the ‘old me’ world will be easier at some point.  It won’t.  But that’s a good thing.  I want to be noticed for being different than I was!

2 Corinthians 3:18

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit..”

That’s what I want to show, what I want people to see in me!  That with every passing minute, my desire to be more like Him is made real through the spirit that works within me… as one degree of glory is traded for another and another and another. Noticeably different…noticeably exemplifying the principles Jesus modeled.

So, being a new creation in an old world (for me as a Christian), may not always be easy or comfortable but its’ value is made clearer when I continually trade one level of grace for another as I grow and evolve.  When you come to the realization that life, for you, is better in this new way, there’s no turning back!

“For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Til’ next time, be blessed!
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